Published with permission by the poet Stephanie Chan. She read this poem at the Opening Reception of Portraits of Defacement at Your Mother Gallery 91A Hindoo Road, Singapore. Organised by SlutWalk Singapore and Eros Coaching. Portraits of Dfacement runs till May 12. You can request for a private viewing by contacting Vanessa at +65 91254467.
We called it The Plane Crash
because it was sudden,
and a lot of blood came out
in the process.
We called it Plane Crash
because menstruation was hard to pronounce,
in P6, it still felt wrong to talk about down there
outside the school toilets we wondered whose
planes had crashed,
and if it had hurt
thanking our collective gods
that you couldn’t notice leaks
on our navy blue skirts,
My best friend Kim got it first.
The January of our PSLE year
We always knew she was the most mature
Mine didn’t come until December.
So my Primary Six involved a lot of
her patting my head saying
“oh, don’t worry, it will happen to you,”
and a lot of flipping through the health education books
to make sure of the I had not missed puberty yet.
Ten years later me and my five best friends
from primary school
reunite over vodka redbulls
some bar by the Singapore River
comparing I-phones, entry-level positions,
and boyfriends, we don’t need code-words
and no one giggles when they talk about
what types of condoms they use, what their parents said when they found out,
the best places they had it, the ultimate kiss, how it felt the time you finally said yes.
They notice I’ve been quiet,
I haven’t mentioned my stead
Kim puts her arm around me, says,
“aw don’t worry one day it will happen to you,”
By which she means,
One day you’ll get a serious boyfriend
And he will fuck you
And you’ll know what it means to be grown up and 22.
And I feel about 12 again. Wondering if my plane would ever crashland.
I guess I missed the memo that 22 in the 21st century was too old to have your hymen intact.
No wonder that guy after the party asked, you’re not a virgin are you?
When I said I said No Sex and No blow jobs. But um…thanks for letting me sleep in your bed.
No wonder I felt I had to lie and say, of course not. I just don’t like sex.
And I thought life would be simple after it finally happened to me
After I got it over and done with at 24.
But after I Lost it, everything just got more complex.
First Shane wouldn’t kiss me coz he thought I was too experienced.
Then Matthew thought I was wild coz I’d been naked with his roommate.
And Pat thought I was freaky coz I’d told him about the threesome.
And Jason thought I was conservative coz I didn’t sleep around as much as him
And that made things weird coz we were in some kind of polyamorous relationship.
And just when I thought I’d never hear it again, he said,
Are you a virgin or something?
You know this other girl I was with, hers was so big you could fit two in.
And I said,
I’m sorry I only lost it three months ago
I’m sorry I didn’t know not to use my teeth
I’m sorry I didn’t make you come
I’m sorry I only know how to come on my own
I’m sorry I don’t swallow
I’m sorry I don’t really enjoy penetration yet
I’m sorry we really have to stop my foot is just really cramping up in this…position
I’m sorry I can’t do it with my roommate in the same room even if it turns you on…
I’m sorry I haven’t learnt…
I’m sorry I have so little experience
No, fuck it I’m not sorry.
Because I thought I was supposed to enjoy this at least a little bit.
It just feels like my hymen is tearing all over again. What?
I am not too small you’re just unnecessarily big.
You may as well start to deal with it.
Because I’m not twelve any more.
I don’t need anyone to pat my head
tell me I did well, that I’ve grown up
that I’ve got it.
Because that movie 40 year old virgin was a comedy
And a lousy one at that
I’m not sorry I’m learning about sex at 24
Because there is no timeline to follow.
This is not a plane crash but a streamlined vessel
Yes, with wings.
Its not something that just happened to me
I decided on all of this.
Because I can decide where it goes, what it does
when it does and how
and no matter what
make sure it gets me high.
This is not a plane crash
But a streamlined vessel I happen to have
But a streamlined vessel that is very pretty
But says very little about who I really am.
This is not a plane crash
But a streamlined vessel I will carefully pilot
and treasure and care for under all circumstances.
Which is mine and all mine.
Whose passengers will line up and behave,
understand what a privilege it is to ride.
and bloody well treat with the utmost respect.